Custom fabricated Speed Metal Lightning X-1 - like my own bike shown here on tour - is the beating heart and soul of what could become your ultimate road race bike. And just like a race car, it’s also the chassis upon which, critically, the entire ride experience depends.
There’s simply no point in having the latest greatest groupset, wheels that cost three times as much as most bikes sold, or power measuring pedals or cranks, if all of this stuff is hanging off a frame that neither fits you like a glove, or is simply lacking in stiffness where stiffness is precisely what’s most required, and comfort everywhere else.
These are the features in which the Lightning range of custom fabricated frames excel, from purist road racer X-1, to road disc racer DX-1 to the ride anywhere adventure gravel racer GX-1.
This particular Lightning X-1 is my own, and I decided to match it to a Chris King Inset 7 headset in electric blue and this superstiff Fondriest TF2 carbon fork
All X-1’s are engineered for optimal rider fit, laser-sharp precision handling, maximum all-terrain performance and ultimate all-day ride comfort. How is this magic combination possible in a single bike?
The answer lies in the combination of carefully chosen aerospace grade materials and precision engineering employed to shape and bend each tube on every frame we craft. Perhaps also, it’s the fanatical attention to detail at every stage from conception, design and fabrication - all with one focus: to create the best bike ever, for this one customer and this one customer only.
Take our signature chain-pip as a small but nice example of both my bike engineering philosophy and craft. You can see it in this photo below. It’s that tiny thing protruding from the drive-side seat stay just above the chain as it passes over the cassette. What is it? And what’s it for?
Why is this tiny piece of meticulously machined 6-4 titanium beautifully welded onto every frame that’s ever worn the Spin downtube marque? The answer is because, first and foremost, we are lifelong cyclists.
We ride what we make. And that which we make, we demand performs superbly! But I’m not only talking about the ride. I’m talking about ownership: the quality of living with your ride - day in, day out - and also the experience you have of acquiring your ride. These are things that you may decide in relative haste, but have to live with for much longer. So naturally, I want your total experience to be fantastic.
When I look at a bike, one of the first things I ask myself is this. Is it made by someone who loves what they do, for the pure joy their craft can bring to others? Or is it made by a marketing company simply out to maximise profits? Or by someone who only makes bikes because it’s the best job they can find at the moment?
To me, a maker who goes to the considerable extra trouble of adding this seemingly insignificant pip is saying a great deal about how he or she approaches bike making.
Simply put, the pip doesn’t make your bike any easier for us to make. But it does make living with your bike easier for you.
Ever need to pop your bike’s rear wheel out for cleaning, routine service or simply to fit inside the boot of your car? No problem: slot your chain over the pip, and there’s no longer any danger your chain will tangle or scratch the fancy paint job on your expensive carbon super bike.
But wait - how many carbon superbikes with fragile and fancy paint finishes have a chain pip? Well, I’m still looking! But the pip comes standard on all the frames we make, to ease your bike life, as we’re bike riders too.
A pair of precision hand built Fast Fat Boy DM858 wheels make this X-1 Lightning one supremely fast and confident road machine!
Every rider lucky enough to have pushed the pedals on a Lightning, on even the shortest of test rides on either an original Mk X or the latest spec X-1, has come up against a problem: how to wipe the smile off their face!
Lightning is built fully custom to order, and can be specced for Di2, etap or mechanical shifting, disc or rim braking, internal or external routing, and always made to fit you millimetre perfectly.